Dumaguete City, Philippines
Like Thais, Filipinos eat green mangoes shredded as a salad. Often a green mango salad includes shrimp, red onion, and chilies, all dressed with vinegar and fish sauce. One restaurant Joseph and I went to served green mangoes chopped with salted egg. (See the purple eggs in the Market post.) Pinoys typically add bagoong, shrimp paste, to their green mango salad. And of course, in the land of the pig, it's not unheard of for a green mango salad to arrive to your table sprinkled with fried pork belly or chicharones. Green mango can be pickled and served as a condiment (to pork, of course.) And green mango shakes are also common, but these are still on my list of things to try. In my humble tourist opinion, the most amazing use for the green mango is as a snack: wedges of green mango eaten in the middle of the afternoon.
On the sidewalk outside of most schools, cart venders sell all sorts of snacks for students at dismissal time. It still surprises me how healthy most of these snacks are, given what I've seen of American students' snacking behavior when they have a couple of extra bucks and a candy store across from their school. Here in Dumaguete, most of the snacks being sold outside of schools are relatively nutritious: garlic roasted peanuts, fried fish balls, and green mango wedges. (There are a couple less-healthy options too: jello shakes, for instance. And, bananaques, as Joseph calls glazed fried bananas, strike a questionable balance between good-for-you fruit and greasy-sweet junk. Yes, I've eaten one.)
On afternoons that I walk to my local pool to swim, I pass by two different green mango carts. For five pesos, about eleven cents, I get a bag of green mango wedges and my choice of toppings: a spoon of chili spiked salt, a splash of vinegar or soy sauce, and a dollop of bagoong. I usually ask for vinegar with a little salt.
Sometimes I find myself thinking about my future self back home inNew York City. I wonder what life will be like without green mango snacks in the middle of the afternoon? Maybe I'll leave teaching completely and set up a green mango cart on the corner of Hester and Forsyth in New York City. I'll sell bags of green mango wedges to hungry students for fifty cents a pop.